Oh man, I’m in great spirits right now because it’s FINALLY starting to feel like my favorite time of year!
I love that intangible feeling that hangs over everything when the excitement of the holidays is just around the corner and there’s that slight crisp in the air (I’m told that’s called “Fall,” though having lived in Florida and Southern California I can’t be 100% certain.)
For whatever reason, this time of year always seems to ignite a fierce creativity in me. It’s like my inner muse can sense I’m about to go into hibernation mode so it kicks into high gear to get the last few drops of work out of me before that happens.
As evidence of this Fall surge, I have multiple exciting projects waiting in the wings for you guys, and after the past six weeks of travel and flux, it feels so nice to return to what ultimately lights me up: creating!
Whenever I’m in a season like this when it seems like creativity and ideas are abounding, there is one challenge that I inevitably encounter: Which of those many ideas do I pursue? What do I focus on?
After all, as we know our time here is limited, and as we discussed last week, it’s important to define what’s essential to us. To focus on less, but better.
Last Friday, while I was ruminating about all of this, I came across a video from Brené Brown talking about “The Anatomy Of Trust.” It was fascinating, and it got me thinking about who we entrust with our true selves. Who we allow ourselves to BE SEEN in front of?
That’s when this important question came to me, which I promptly posed to my Instagram community:
What's one thing you love about yourself that you MOST FEAR being rejected for?
It occurred to me that all the times I’ve felt the most understood, the most truly seen in my life were the times when I revealed something about myself that I feared being rejected for, only to be warmly embraced instead. For me, that usually means showing my deep sensitivity, something I used to be so afraid to show people for fear of looking weak or weird or for making people uncomfortable.
Throughout my entire life, this is the one personality trait that has made me feel like a bit of a black sheep. Loving the cathartic feeling of a good cry or empathizing with a character in a story so much that their emotions felt real to me. Sensing a stranger’s joy or pain simply by being near them or pondering life’s biggest questions for hours with a friend over coffee. That kind of depth and emotion is so much a part of who I am, and yet growing up I felt that there was something about it that wasn’t quite “normal.” So I hid that part of myself for a long time.
Now, you might be wondering how this relates to determining which creative ideas to pursue, but I can assure you, when it comes to creating authentically (something I hope you all are interested in), being able to answer that question above is the most important piece of the puzzle.
See, for me, my creative expression is how I show up in the world. It’s how I feel alive and connected and like I have a purpose.
But, in order to feel those things to the max, I have to be willing to share my black sheep qualities. I have to be courageous enough to risk rejection in order to find the people that will see me for my whole self.
That’s why it’s SO important for me to make sure that I weave my deep sensitivity into all the creative work that I do. It’s why I tackle these big, juicy topics in the newsletter. It’s why I share my emotions on Instagram. It’s why I directly declare that this community is for soulful creatives — people like you who aren’t afraid of a little self-reflection.
And THAT is the filter I use when determining what projects to pursue. I simply ask myself: Which of these ideas allows me to share the black sheep parts of me?
A funny thing happens when you share the parts of yourself you’re most afraid to show — you effectively are able to step into your uniqueness. You can start to own that part of you that naturally strays from the herd. (And, as it turns out, straying from the herd is actually a rather effective marketing strategy.)
Later on this week, you can read up on the newest project I’m working on for Made Vibrant — a project called Color Your Soul. This is an idea I’ve had on the back burner for about a year now, and it’s one that I’ve been afraid to bring into being for fear that it’s too different from what I see other creative entrepreneurs and info product people doing. The focus is less on creating how-to content and more on creating heartful content — articles and interviews and art that is meant to stir your soul and improve your everyday.
What I’ve now realized is that the fact that this idea is different, the fact that it reveals one thing that I love about myself but that I fear being rejected for… that’s the greatest reason of all to focus on it.
Because for those people that do “get it” (I’m hoping that’s a chunk of you reading this!) — those people will allow me the great joy of BEING SEEN.
This week, my challenge to you is to consider the idea that:
That thing you’re afraid to show the world — that you’re irreverent or idealistic or weird or nerdy or sad or quiet — within that thing not only lies your ability to stand out but your ability to feel understood.
You are CRAZY special and the world wants to know you. Let us see you for who you really are.
When I think about how I want to be remembered at the end of my life, the thing that most comes to mind is that I want people to say “she was fiercely and courageously herself.” What about you?
Sending all of you black sheep out there SO much love this week!
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This post first appeared in my Monday newsletter to Self-Made Society -- Made Vibrant's email community for soulful creatives. Sign up and you'll get instant access to my e-book, A Year Made Vibrant, with over 50 of my past weekly newsletters.